It did. Juventus won 3-0 courtesy of a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo and a goal from Winston McKennie. The Italians had to better Barcelona’s 2-0 victory over them in Turin in October to steal top spot, and they did.
Much was made of the fact that it was one of the final duels that we’ll see between Ronaldo and his great rival, Lionel Messi, and while the latter arguably contributed more in general play it was the former who was clinical when the opportunities arose.
“I think we lost the game in the first half-hour, as we got off to a bad start, didn’t play well defensively, were lacking aggression in midfield, and Juventus played well,” Ronald Koeman told Sky Sport Italia after the game in comments carried by Football Italia.
“They were particularly strong in the first half-hour and deserved to win.”
Koeman also spoke to the Spanish press and insisted “there are some positives” from the game, as Barcelona had won all five group games before this.
“You can also argue that the first penalty given wasn’t a spot-kick, while if they gave that one, then they ought to award one for the incident on Messi.”
Clement Lenglet was fortunate not to receive a second yellow card for his penalty incident and was substituted moments later.
“Don’t forget we played two games against Juventus, not just this one, as we won 2-0 in Turin. You should also look at the age of the squad and consider it an important lesson they have learned. They have to play with more conviction.”
The result comes hot on the heels of Barcelona’s 2-1 defeat at newly-promoted Cadiz last weekend, a result that leaves the Blaugrana mired in mid-table mediocrity in La Liga.
Their saving grace had been their European form, but now that they’ve been knocked off top spot they’ll face a difficult assignment in the last 16.
Featured image courtesy of Barca Universal.